|(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)|
Inspired by the story of a distant cousin who was murdered in Paris in 1937, award-winning author Michele Zackheim’s Last Train to Paris is a gripping epic about a half-Jewish female reporter from Nevada who writes for the Paris Courier in the 1930’s. The sole woman in the newsroom, she lives with both sexism and anti-Semitism. Then she meets Leo, a German radical and anti-Nazi and realizes that while Paris is interesting, the truly vital historical story is taking place across the border. Rose undertakes an assignment in the Berlin press office, where she is initially happy and in love until Kristallnacht and the growing threat of Nazism. When World War II is declared, Americans are forced to leave the country and Rose must make an agonizing choice: Who will go with her on the last train to Paris?
Zackheim, acclaimed author of Einstein’s Daughter, tells her story from vantage point of Rose as an elderly woman, Last Train to Paris is at once a historical epic, a love story, and a psychological portrait of one woman’s gradual discovery of who she really is after years of being invisible to herself.
Blerg! I had such high hopes for this book and wound up being sorely disappointed. I was so excited to read about R.B. Manon's life as an intrepid reporter in Paris and Berlin on the cusp of an impending war (WWII) and instead found myself utterly annoyed by R.B.'s refusal to face reality. Here she was smack dab in the middle of the horror that was the Nazis and she somehow believed herself to be untouchable. She honestly thought that she could continue traveling to and fro without incident. She didn't take into account the fact that she was Jewish and that being Jewish was dangerous. R.B. may have smuggled documents back and forth and she may have eventually written riveting and authentic reports from the front lines, but I still didn't like her.
Here was a woman whose boyfriend was literally imprisoned in his home, where he was forced to etch metal for the Nazis or else he and his parents would die - and she still didn't get it. She even acted like a brat when she went to visit some friends - they had no heat in their home and that was all she could remark on. Hello!! They were forced to live in one room without any of the basic necessities needed to survive. Plus, their children had been taken away and sterilized. Talk about living in hell and she was barely registering any of this. I wanted to shake her awake. Maybe she was acting ignorant about these atrocities, because she didn't want to accept that this was now reality for so many people she loved. Even so, I couldn't stand R.B. - UGH!!!
At the end of the day, Last Train To Paris was not my cup of tea. However, if you are a fan of historical fiction set during WWII, you may wind up enjoying this read. After all, loads of other bloggers seemed to really enjoy it. Here's the TLC Book Tours schedule for: Last Train To Paris